My Brilliant Career
"My Brilliant Career was the first of Miles Franklin's novels and, if it lacks the breadth of her later books, is the most striking and clear-cut of them all, with something wild and Bronteish in its picture of a young girl hungering for life and love in the harsh outback plains of New South Wales.
"Banned by the author herself from republication for ten years after her death in 1954, this vivid little Australian Classic was originally published in Edinburgh in 1901.
"The author's objections to republication were not based on doubt about the merit of the book, but on the distress she felt when a work of fiction was taken to be direct autobiography. Much of it, we may say today, is clearly based on fact; but obviously the facts have been changed, enlarged, dramatized, and lit with imagination to make a work of art.
"Henry Lawson and A.G. Stephens combined to greet it with enthusiasm when it first appeared. Nor should it lack appreciation today, for underneath its extravagances and its melodrama, which have their own charm of period, Miles Franklin's spirit flashes indomitably; and in its picture of country life and in its image of the rebelliousness of youth there remains an abiding vitality."
MY DEAR FELLOW AUSTRALIANS,
Just a few lines to tell you that this story is all about myself - for no other purpose do I write it.
I make no apologies for being egotistical. In this particular I attempt an improvement on other autobiographes. Other autobiographies weary one with excuses for their egotism. What matters it to you if I am egotistical? What matters it to you though it should matter that I am egotistical?
This is not a romance - I have too often faced the music of life to the tune of hardship to waste time in snivelling and gushing over fancies and dreams; neither is it a novel, but simply a yarn - a real yarn. Oh! as real, as really real - provided life itself is anything beyond a heatless little chimera - it is as real in its weariness and bitter heartache as the tall gum-trees, among which I first saw the light, are real in their stateliness and substantiality.
From the Angus and Robertson hardback edition, 1986.
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Last modified: March 20, 2008.